11 Sep The Most Popular Whale Species in Australian Waters
There are many species of whale, and it is only since the international community joined forces to ban whale hunting that we have learned about these majestic creatures and how they live their lives. Of course, much if what the whales do goes unnoticed, due to the depths they dive, but we have learned so much from surface observations to conclude that the whale is indeed an intelligent animal.
Hunted to Near Extinction
It’s no secret that for almost 200 years, whales off the coast of Australia were vigorously hunted, indeed the numbers were so low in 1982, that the International Whaling Committee put a blanket ban on all whale hunting, and that was the start of the fight back we have seen with almost all species.
The Humpback Whale
The most common whale in Australian waters is most definitely the Humpback Whale, and this species follows a centuries old migrating route that runs between the rich krill deposits found in the Antarctica waters and the northern part of Queensland, with Sydney being one of the best ports where whale watching is concerned. Indeed, whale watching in Sydney is a booming industry and between the months of April to November make up the peak whale watching season.
Southern Right Whales
The Southern Right Whale is of the Baleen Whale family and there are estimated to be some 10,000 in the Southern Hemisphere, and while not as common as the Humpback, the Southern Right Whale is frequently observed in the waters around Australia, particularly the East Coast.
There are Blue Whales off the Australian coastline, and this species in the biggest animal ever thought to have existed, and they were aggressively hunted in the 19th century, much like the Humpbacks. In 2002, a report estimated there were between 5,000 – 12,000 Blue Whales in existence, while some experts today think the Blue Whale population is between 25-30,000. They are most commonly found in the Antarctica waters and are known to migrate along the East Coast of Australia, and can be seen alongside Humpback Whales.
The Minke Whale
The second smallest of the Baleen Whale family, the Minke can be seen in the waters off Queensland, as they do migrate to Antarctica, much like their cousin, the Humpback Whale. In the Northern Great Barrier Reef, Minke Whales migrate in June and July and can frequently be seen off Port Douglas and Cairnes.
The Humpback Shows
The most common whale in Australian waters, the Humpback really does put on quite a show, and breaches are far more common than other species, and with several surface behaviours, whale watching from Sydney gives you the best chance of some close-up encounters. From April to November, the whale watching tours are almost always fully booked, so always try to book as far in advance as you can.
Whale watching is on most people’s bucket list, and if you are ever in Sydney, that is the ideal time to experience these amazing creatures performing as they do.